Yair Lapid
Yair LapidFlash 90

Hoping to deflect the notion that he is “damaged goods,” Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid said that he was convinced haredi politicians would not hesitate to join a government he was a part of. In fact, he said “they would even sit in coalition with Haman of Purim fame if it helped their interests.”

Recent polls have shown that Lapid is unlikely to get more than eight or nine seats in the next coalition – if that many, and that makes him far less of an asset to prospective prime ministers Binyamin Netanyahu and Yitzhak Herzog than United Torah Judaism and Shas, who between them are expected to get between 15 and 18 seats – and who have said that they under no circumstances will join a government Lapid is part of.

The reason, of course, was what haredi political leaders considered Lapid's outright hostility to them during his tenure as Finance Minister. Among other things, Lapid slashed, and then eliminated, payments for full-time yeshiva students, and engineered the bill to draft all but 1,800 18 year old yeshiva students into the IDF annually.

Speaking on Army Radio Sunday, Lapid said that he did not think haredi parties would avoid sitting in a government he was a part of if the opportunity came up. He quoted what he said were sources in the haredi political establishment, whom, he said, were tired of being on the “outside” as they were in the current government – and would join any government that invited them, including one run by Haman, the villain of Purim, who sought to destroy the Jews.

On Friday, Lapid said that if he was part of the next government he would work very hard to allow free transport of buses on Shabbat. Speaking at an event in Tel Aviv with journalist Nehemia Strasler, Lapid said that “Yesh Atid will make every effort to ensure that there will be public transportation on the Sabbath. This is a pro-society step, not an anti-religion one. We need Sabbath transportation in areas where secular people and not haredi people live.”